World Cocktail Day May 13th

History of World Cocktail Day.

In 1806, The Balance and Columbian Repository coined the term “cocktail” as a stimulating liquor with a wide variety of sweets, waters, and bitters. Originally, the Oxford English Dictionary defined the term with a different set of connotations, describing it as a horse with a tail like a cock’s, with its tail cocked up instead of hung down.

Cocktails as a drink, however, started as a British invention in the 19th century and has since become an American innovation when a Connecticut-born bartender Jerry Thomas wrote the book “The Bartender’s Guide.” The Bartender’s Guide basically broadcasted an encyclopedia of how to mix drinks and recipes on some of the best combinations of drinks and flavors.

During the 1920s American prohibition, many cocktails were mixed into existence that remain firm favorites today. With not much high-quality alcohol available, cocktails were the perfect way to make that smuggled rum, gin or whiskey just a little bit more drinkable. Enter the cocktail; rum mojitos, the Sidecar, and the Tom Collins all flourished at a time when recreational alcohol wasn’t legal.

The ‘Bee’s Knees’ cocktail was actually created to mask and sweeten the taste of illegally brewed bathtub gin. The roaring twenties took the cocktail and shook it up into some of our most popular modern-day cocktails. Drinking didn’t stop during the prohibition, people simply went underground. Many illegal speakeasies popped up, serving cocktails in jazz-style locales.

Post-prohibition saw the invention of drinks that still grace the pages of your favorite cocktail bar menus. 1954 saw the mixing of the Pina Colada in Puerto Rico when Ramon Marrero created the delicious pineapple treat at the Caribe Hilton hotel. 1988 saw the much-loved Cosmopolitan enter our lives, thanks to Toby Cecchini and his desire to share a drink with his fellow bartenders in San Francisco.

A constant throughout the cocktail era in America was the Rainbow Room. Opened after the prohibition in 1934, the Rainbow Room was a high-end club where New York A-listers could celebrate in style with post-prohibition cocktails. The Rainbow Room was revived and renovated in different forms over the years, being closed during WWII and for various restorations.

The 1987 reopening saw emerging mixologist Dale DeGroff create a pre-prohibition list of cocktails that revived some firm favorites and spearheaded the modern cocktail mixing revolution that made the cocktail bar increasingly popular.

The holiday itself is held annually by Drinkaware, a United Kingdom-based charity that brings awareness to the effects of drinking and aims to reduce the harm that drinking can have on people and families. The website provides facts and information about drinking, alcohol poisoning, and alcohol abuse. The World Cocktail Day page that Drinkaware hosts have events all over the world that you can partake in, a blog you can follow about your favorite recipes, and how you can drink safely while also having fun.

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